Video conferencing has become an essential component to business and for many, the change has happened overnight. Employees have been given the ability to speak face-to-face with clients, prospects, and co-workers while sitting in their newly constructed home offices.
While the convenience of using tools like Zoom, GoTo Meeting, and WebEx for video conferencing will help a business move forward during this challenging time, it’s critical that we practice good video meeting etiquette.
Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips
Before your Video Conference Meeting:
Ensure Your Video Conference Tool Works Properly and You Know How to Use It.
You don’t want to have to delay a meeting with an important client because your video conferencing tool isn’t working properly. Complete a few test runs with a co-worker to make sure everything runs smoothly and you know how to mute, unmute, share screens, use chat, and use all other functions needed for the meeting.
Be On Time.
If you are hosting the meeting, make sure you start the meeting 5 minutes before the scheduled appointment. If you are just attending the meeting, be sure you’re on time. Don’t be the guy that shows up 10 minutes late and disrupts the entire conversation upon entry.
Know What’s in your Background.
Many of us are working out of makeshift home offices that can be messy, cluttered, or unprofessional looking for a range of reasons. If you’re unable to alter your home office workspace, you can hide the appearance with background features offered in some video conferencing tools. Zoom, for example, gives its users the option to use virtual backgrounds in their video instead of showing the actual home office background.
Position your camera so it’s Not a Distraction for Others.
Be sure your camera is positioned where others can see you at eye level. A camera that is pointed too low or pointed somewhere else in the room can be distracting for others or make them feel like you’re not paying attention to the meeting.
Dress for the Call.
While it might be tempting to work in your most comfortable clothes all day, consider wearing something that would be appropriate if the meeting were face-to-face, rather than virtual. This doesn’t mean donning a suit and tie every day. Know your audience and match your attire.
During your Video Conference Meeting:
Remember that People Can See Your Every Move.
Don’t be the person that logs in to an 8:00 am video call and then begins brushing their hair or worse, brushing their teeth while everyone is forced to sit and watch them. As a video call goes on, it’s easy to forget that others can see your movements. Keep tissues in another room so if you need to blow your nose, you’re forced to get up and do it privately. Always be mindful of your actions!
Speak Up and Speak Clearly.
You may have a perfect connection with a clear picture of participants, and sound like you’re in the same room. Keep in mind, everyone won’t have the same connection. Just because you can hear co-workers perfectly, it might not be so in the other direction. Always speak clearly and ask if you can be heard by everyone.
Mute Yourself when You’re Not Speaking.
If it’s not your turn to speak during the meeting, keep your microphone muted. Otherwise, call attendees will hear the sounds of your movements. This is especially important if you plan to eat during the meeting, type while others are speaking, or if you happen to be in a place that isn’t very quiet. Background noises can be distracting and interrupt others when it’s their turn to speak.
Pay Attention during the Meeting.
It’s tempting to multi-task during a video meeting when you’re not speaking. Just like a face-to-face meeting, multi-tasking is disrespectful to others in the meeting who will know you are not fully engaged. Make every effort to focus on the meeting at hand and be present. Your presence on a video call tends to be magnified and it will be obvious to others that you aren’t paying attention if you appear to be typing, fidgeting, moving around, or gazing elsewhere while someone else is talking. If you wouldn’t do it in a face-to-face meeting, don’t do it in a video call.
Avoid Interrupting Others.
The manners shown during a video conference should be no different than that at a face-to-face meeting. Don’t jump in and start talking over another person. Be courteous and allow each person time to speak before voicing your thoughts. If you do need to interrupt, make sure there’s a good reason such as pushing a co-worker to move the conversation forward or getting a distracted conversation back on track.
Practicing good video meeting etiquette is critical to ensuring that your meetings are professional, efficient, and valuable.